The old adage big time players make plays in big time games couldn’t be more true with regard to the performance of Bellevue Wolverines goalie Madi George in the Class 3A girls soccer state tournament.
George, who had never played organized soccer until this fall, didn’t allow a single goal in all four of the Wolverines games in the state tournament. George pitched a shutout for a mind-boggling 320 minutes of soccer during the state playoffs. Against Seattle Prep in the Class 3A semifinals, George made a diving stop on the ground to the right side on a Seattle Prep penalty kick in the second minute of play. The save changed the course of the game as Bellevue captured a 1-0 win on Nov. 18 to advance to the state title game. In the championship contest, George didn’t surrender a goal in Bellevue’s 1-0 win against Southridge on Nov. 19. Immediately following the final whistle by the referee signaling the end of the game, a multitude of Wolverines players made a beeline for George to celebrate a championship attained. George said Wolverines varsity soccer players approached her last March with the idea of her trying out for the team as a goalie.
“It was kind of nerve-racking when they asked me to join. I have played softball all of my life and have done gymnastics. There is some handoffs (similarities) between the sports so I thought I might as well try it,” George said.
Bellevue senior JoJo Harber, who scored the only goal of the state title game in the third minute, said George may never had played soccer until this season but that didn’t matter to her current teammates.
“That (soccer) was never one of her sports. She never touched a soccer ball and she played softball and gymnastics. She is great with her hands. She went to tryouts and was iffy on the whole thing but we were like, dude we really need you because we had no goalie,” Harber said. “She (Madi) is so competitive and is a great athlete. She has been amazing for us and we’re just so happy she was part of the team this year.”
George admitted she was tentative at first but got acclimated to the sport of soccer quickly.
“As the season went on I kind of grew with my skills and got way more comfortable. It was a good transition. I didn’t have a sport during the fall before and I ended up loving it (soccer),” she said.